04.13.15

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Calls for Strong Funding for Marine Sanctuaries

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin has called for strong investments in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Marine Sanctuaries Program. National Marine Sanctuaries are underwater-protected areas that help promote public awareness of local marine heritage, scientific research, exploration and educational programs. Robust funding for the Marine Sanctuaries program will help position this system to grow and serve more communities across the country.

“The National Marine Sanctuary System is a prime example of how we can foster community and economic growth while also preserving our cultural traditions, protecting our historic resources, and ensuring public access to our most spectacular natural places,” wrote Senator Baldwin. “…Sanctuaries support local jobs and businesses, generate local revenue, preserve community heritage and culture, and provide the public with new opportunities for recreation, tourism, and learning.”

In Wisconsin, the cities of Port Washington, Sheboygan, Manitowoc and Two Rivers have developed a plan for a marine sanctuary along Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan coast. For the first time in two decades, a sanctuary nominating process has opened, enabling these communities in Wisconsin to nominate new marine sanctuaries. Senator Baldwin called for the re-establishment of a nominating process in a letter to the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries in 2013. In 2014, Senator Baldwin voiced strong support for Wisconsin’s marine sanctuary proposal in a letter to NOAA.

"It is nearly impossible to overstate what an eventual National Marine Sanctuary Designation could mean to our City of Port Washington, Ozaukee County, our surrounding partner communities and our entire State,” said City of Port Washington Mayor Tom Mlada. “As one of the four southeastern Wisconsin communities actively engaged in advancing our regional Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary nomination, our City of Port Washington is immensely grateful for all of the support we have received from local stakeholders and state and federal elected officials, including Senator Baldwin.”

The proposed Marine Sanctuary would cover an 875-square-mile area along an 80-mile stretch in Ozaukee, Manitowoc, and Sheboygan counties. It would contain 34 known shipwrecks, including the two oldest shipwrecks in Wisconsin.

Senator Baldwin is a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee and is committed to bringing Wisconsin values to the national conversation on moving the economy forward.

An online version of the letter is available here.